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6 Makeup Myths Debunked

open palette of lipgloss with brush, bronzer, foundation, loose powder foundation, lipstick, highlighter, and lip liner lay out on a purple table

Let’s face it: we love our makeup. And while we appreciate the many benefits it provides to our physical appearance and inner confidence, there are some negative misconceptions that may be influencing you. Fortunately, Penn Medicine clinical esthetician, Jeanne Vos, LMA, cleared the air about some common makeup myths.

Myth #1: You Don’t Need Sunscreen if You Wear Makeup

Many people believe that you can pass on the sunscreen if you wear makeup. After all, lots of products contain SPF; so you should be covered, right? Unfortunately, though, this belief is a myth.

“Makeup and moisturizers dilute the effectiveness of SPF in makeup products. About 10 to 15 minutes after application, the SPF completely wears off. So if you’re going to be outside you should apply sunscreen as well,” Jeanne explained.

Myth #2: Makeup is Bad for Your Skin

While it is true that makeup can clog your pores, this common belief is generally a myth. When it comes to concerns like wrinkles, patchiness, or dry or oily skin, Jeanne explains that biology is the culprit, not makeup. “Makeup does not age you or cause dry or oily skin. Wrinkles can be caused by stress, environmental factors, and smoking, among other things. And while makeup usually doesn’t look as good on dry or oily skin, it’s not the cause. It’s important to develop a good skincare routine to treat the real root of the problem,” Jeanne said.

Myth #3: Makeup Can’t Expire

Expiration dates aren’t only limited to food. The truth is, makeup really CAN expire and can actually be harmful if used past its expiration date. “Over time, the ingredients will break down, causing the makeup to change consistency and look different on your skin. Expired makeup will also grow bacteria which can cause breakouts,” says Jeanne. However, knowing whether or not your makeup is expired can be a little tricky, as expiration dates aren’t always listed on makeup packaging. “Consumers really need to be their own advocate and keep track of when they purchased a product. The general rule of thumb is to throw out any products you’ve had for more than 6 months,” Jeanne explained.

Myth #4: Less Ingredients = Better Product

Just as food with less ingredients is generally healthier for you, so too is makeup. “Consumers’ best option is to look for fragrance-free, oil-free, mineral-based makeup. These should contain the least amount of ingredients which is best for your skin. These products will also look better on your skin because they tend to be less greasy,” Jeanne said.

Additionally, you’ll want to choose a product that is “paraben-free,” or close to it. This common additive, often mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is used to preserve makeup and extend its shelf-life. “A good rule of thumb is to look for products that have parabens listed at the end of the ingredient list, meaning it has a minimal amount compared to the other ingredients in the makeup. If you notice the word “paraben” being repeated, or at the top of the list of ingredients, stay away,” stated Jeanne.

Myth #5: Designer Makeup Is Better for You

When it comes to clothes, jewelry, and accessories, it often pays to splurge on name-brand products. However, with makeup, one of the only differences between designer and drug store brands is the price tag. Jeanne explained that “cost typically doesn’t matter. There is generally no difference in the quality of high-end brands; you’re just paying for the name.”

Myth #6: There’s No Harm In Sleeping With Your Makeup On

Sure, removing your makeup (especially water-proof mascara) can be a bit of a chore. However, it’s more important than you think! When you leave makeup on overnight you’re giving it more time to sit on your face and clog your pores, which can lead to breakouts. Sleeping also helps your skin to regenerate and repair itself, but this process is greatly disturbed when you leave makeup on your face.

Furthermore, you might also need to change some of your sleeping habits if you want to keep your skin looking its best. Jeanne recommends that you change your pillowcase regularly. “Sleep on one side of the pillowcase. Switch it to the other side the next day. Then wash it on the third day.” This will keep pore-clogging bacteria, oils, and other irritants away from your skin and decrease the potential for breakouts.

By following these makeup tips and taking good care of your skin, your makeup will sit better and look smoother, giving you a healthy, fresh appearance.

Do you have questions about how to properly care for your skin? Talk with your primary care provider or request an appointment with a Penn Medicine specialist.

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